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News/Business. Live news coverage, breaking news and current news events with host Thomas Roberts. New.

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Romney 22, Obama 15, Us 10, Msnbc 7, Jack Welch 5, Washington 4, Chicago 4, Citi 3, Marco Rubio 3, Anne 3, Hillary Clinton 3, Honda 3, Miami 3, Karen 3, Unitedhealthcare Insurance Company 2, Jonathan 2, United States 2, Kris Kobach 2, Chris Wilson 2, George W. Bush 2,
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  MSNBC    MSNBC Live    News/Business. Live news coverage, breaking news  
   and current news events with host Thomas Roberts. New.  

    October 6, 2012
    11:00 - 12:00pm PDT  

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want my recipe for healthier hair color? natural instincts! formulated with aloe, vitamin and antioxidants natural instincts has a system that's a healthier way to radiant color. indulge... with natural instincts. less guilt, more gorgeous. good afternoon. i'm milissa rehberger in for craig melvin today. you're watching msnbc, the place for politics. all the headlines today have something to do with the latest unemployment number of 7.8%, and with just five days until the vice presidential debate, the candidates are cramming this afternoon while their surrogates are campaigning in the critical swing states. but today, the big number is
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one. we're one month out from the election day, the day that we find out who will become the next president. topping our political headlines, money, money, and more money. today, we're learning that the obama campaign raked in a whopping $181 million in september. that is the most either side has raised in a single month this election cycle. no word yet on the romney camp's monthly total, but the campaign does say it collected more than $12 million in online donations. that is just since wednesday's debate. team romney is also rolling out a new tv ad today, featuring a former obama supporter, who says she has changed his mind. >> i'm disappointed in barack obama as my president, because he promised to bring us all together. and we're all going to be able to prosper. i don't see the prospering. >> and big news out of ohio, where an appeals court has upheld a ruling that reinstates early voting on the final three days before election day. the ruling means that people in
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ohio can continue to cast their ballots up until election day, depending on the decisions of local election boards. it's a win for the obama campaign, which has filed a lawsuit arguing everyone should be able to vote on those days. we'll have more on all these stories throughout the next three hours. president obama today keeping his focus on jobs, as we have mentioned. the september jobs report showed a drop in the unemployment rate to 7.8%. the president said in his weekly web address that the burden is on congress to keep the economy moving forward. nbc news white house correspondent, mike viqueira joins me now. mike, what more political fallout do you think we're going to see over the jobless numbers? >> reporter: the jobs report was both symbolic and substantiative. symbolic because it got below 8%, that's considered a threshold over which no president has ever been re-elected. and substantiative because it gets down to where the unemployment rate is -- was when
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president obama took office in january of 2009. and don't you know, melissa, yesterday at two campaign rallies in the battleground states of virginia and ohio, one each, the president pointed that out. here at the white house, at the campaign, campaign headquarters in chicago, they are certainly hopeful that this will change the narrative, stem some of the momentum that mitt romney has undoubtedly received. the bounce he got from what is generally regarded as his debate victory on wednesday night. a lot of the president's supporters, very disappointed in his performance. mitt romney has a couple of events down in florida this weekend. but we understand he's also going to be practicing for that next debate in two weeks. rob portman, the republican senator from ohio, who has portrayed president obama in some of these rehearsals is down in florida with him. mitt romney, obviously, trying to keep that momentum going. >> what are you hearing within the white house about the spin on those -- on the 7.8% report that came out yesterday?
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and all these conspiracy theories that are surrounding it? >> reporter: the white house calls it utter nonsense, as do most people on both sides of the aisle. jack welch is almost famous or infamous by now. jack welch, the former ceo of general electric, tweeting out that, you know, the innuendo that the bureau of labor statistics had cooked the books. that was called utter nonsense by the deputy white house spokesman. others, including jared bernstein, who is an economist here until recently in the white house, said that welch should be ashamed of himself. you know, he's sort of out there on an island, jack welch. he was on "hardball" last night and he said he wouldn't take a word back of that tweet, but he admitted he had no evidence the to back it up. again, there are people on both sides of the aisle who are rushing to defend the integrity of the people who get those numbers together every month, melissa. >> the president said the burden is now on congress. what is it that the president now wants congress to do? >> reporter: congress is not coming back until after the election. that is clear. and the first order of business
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at the lame duck session is what to do about the fiscal cliff, this whammy, this triple whammy of tax hikes and defense cuts and social program cuts that are scheduled to take effect the first of the year. i talked to one democratic congressman, a leader last night, i ran into him at an event in suburban washington. he said, don't look for congress to do anything substantiative in that lame duck, however, they might push that deadline back, work out some kind of deal, push it back six months, and get some serious negotiations on what to do about that fiscal cliff, some time in the springtime. >> mike viqueira, thank you. the spin machine is in full effect over those jobs numbers. first, president obama used his weekly address to tout that drop in unemployment numbers to 7.8. >> more americans are entering the workforce, more americans are getting jobs. >> but mitt romney on his weekly
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podcast this morning argued that it is just more proof that obama's policies had failed. >> we created fewer jobs in september than in august, and fewer jobs in august than in july. and we've lost over 600,000 manufacturing jobs since president obama took office. if not for all the people who had simply dropped out of the labor force, the real unemployment rate would be closer to 11%. >> joining us now is anne kornblut of "the washington post" is and author of "the cracked ceiling," and jonathan allen, politico's senior washington correspondent. first, anne, jon, thank you both for joining us. the drop from 8.1 to 7.8 sounds like a pretty large drop. mitt romney argues it's because of all the people that have stopped looking. but is romney in a bind, because he can no longer use the argument that the unemployment rate hasn't gone below 8% under president obama. >> and he's also in a bind, because there are many experts now who are saying it's not because of the people who have stopped looking.
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there were some past months where the numbers were revised upwards. so these look like some real improvements. in past months, we've been very cautious, and of course the white house is always very cautious when the numbers come out to not overstate the case. but i think you're right about the big point, which is the 8% threshold has been an important one for republicans for quite some time. and president obama has gotten below that. and if it continues, this is going to be an important talking point for the president. and there are some who believe that -- and there's some evidence to suggest -- after labor day, it's very hard for people to change their feelings about the economy. it's basically baked in by december. but this is one of those things that could actually do that. >> as mike vic querra said, yesterday, jack welch tweeted, "unbelievable job numbers, these chicago guys will do anything. can't debate, so change numbers." and last night, to cnn's
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anderson cooper, he said this. >> it's one thing to doubt the numbers and say they should be revised -- >> well, i used question marks last night. >> well, you said, "these chicago guys will do anything." there's no question mark. >> i should have used a question mark. it would have been better to have a question mark. >> so you don't substantiatand notion -- >> oh, i stand by it. i stand by that these numbers have to be examined. >> so what's with all the conspiracies? is it political silly season with one month left to go? does it hurt romney when he has supporters saying things like this? >> well, i think that this is not the message that the romney campaign want s out there. jack welch was talking about chicago-style number fixing. that would be one thing if these numbers were actually coming out of chicago. they're coming out of the bureau of labor statistics, where you have career professionals who do this job. these aren't political appointees. i think if anybody was cooking the books, you would pretty quickly have a whistle blower coming out of there, saying,
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hey, wait a second, these aren't the numbers. this is not something that's at all helpful for mitt romney, and it's generally not helpful for the level of intellect on our national discourse right now. >> you know, anne, i've been talking to people on both sides of this thing. let's clear it up right now. because this whole conspiracy, in my experience, in the past 24 hours, has been met with a collective eye roll from people who are democrats and republicans. is there any way the obama administration could actually have cooked up these numbers? >> uh, in a short answer, i would say no. i think the last president who was accused of, and where there was evidence that he tried to mess with the bureau of labor statistics was richard nixon. since then, it is a bureau full of professionals and i think that jonathan is exactly right. we would know if there was some funny business going on there. not to mention that if they were going to cook the books, wouldn't they have done it months ago when it would have more of an impact, and wouldn't they have said the unemployment
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rate is, i don't know, 4%. it seems extremely far fetched. i would be shocked if we eventually discovered they had played some role in it. >> jonathan allen and anne, thank you for joining us today. stick around, we'll see you later on this hour p. was mitt romney really a bipartisan governor in massachusetts? one of his old political foes joins us in the next hour. and who does michelle obama think should play her husband on the silver screen? but first, will the real mitt romney please stand up. we'll talk to his campaign next about what's behind it. this is msnbc, the place for politics. you.
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this is new video just into us here at msnbc of ann romney stopped at a romney campaign office in orlando, florida, just a short time ago after working the room, taking some pictures and signing memorabilia. she joined former congressman artur davis, calling supporters on the phone right there. and an eye-popping number from the obama campaign. today we're learning it raised $181 million in september, more than either side has raised in a month so far. no word yet on how much the romney campaign has raised. news of the fund-raising figure falls a rally in wisconsin on thursday where the president was greeted by some $30,000 supporters. his biggest crowd so far. it is a shot in the arm for the president after a debate that most say he lost badly. right now, i want to bring in ann marie hauser, a romney campaign surrogate and former communications director for governor tim pawlenty's presidential campaign. thank you so much for joining us. you know, the president raised a
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whole lot, actually, an astounding amount, in just september. you know, and after the debate, observers say he seemed energized at these rallies. do you expect to see a different president obama putting a different foot forward after that debate last week? >> it's no surprise that barack obama raised this much money. we knew they was going to raise this much money all along. in 2004, john kerry out-raised president bush, and we all know how that turned out. so i think, you know, yes, he raised a lot of money. the president, or, excuse me, governor romney has raised $12 million since wednesday. so it's been a shot in the arm for the romney campaign too. >> and that's online as well. >> it's 60% -- >> we're not talking about major donors. we're talking about people who saw his debate and liked what they saw. >> 60% of them are new donors. so i think the romney campaign is very pleased with this. and what you saw tuesday night in the debate, you took the money off the table, you had the president and governor trromney speaking unfiltered to the people, and people really liked
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what they heard from mitt romney. >> but some people might not consider exactly what mitt romney said as unfiltered. take a listen to what he said about cutting taxes for people during the republican primary compared to what he said on wednesday. let's play back two clips, so take a listen. >> nouumber one, i said today tt we're going to cut taxes on everybody across the country, by 20%, including the top 1%. >> but i'm not going to reduce the taxes paid by high-income people. they'll do fine whether you're president or i am. >> in that first sound bite, he was really clear about cutting taxes by 20%, including the top 1%. then he said on wednesday, he wasn't going to cut taxes for the rich. >> he said all along, he's still going to cut taxes 20% across the board, close loopholes and deductions -- >> including the top 1%. >> he said for everybody, across the board. >> on top of the bush tax cuts? >> president obama during the
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debate said he is the one who is going to raise taxes by letting the bush tax cuts expire. >> but we just played two things back to back that do not match. >> look, he said all look, 20% across the board. i think there were two different things he was speaking about there. he has a very pro-growth policy. he has a policy to create 12 million jobs. >> so are you saying he misspoke in one of those? >> i'm not going to get into whether he misspoke or not -- what i know is he has said all along, 20% across the board for everybody, and that means everybody. to what specifically he was speaking there, i'm not exactly sure. but it's a clear choice what you have. we don't need to get caught up on the back and forth. he is going to put forward pro-growth jobs. and 7.8% is an anemic recovery. that is nothing to celebrate. i remember when president bush was criticized by president obama when i worked for him -- >> but for the past four years, republican have said saying over
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and over and over, he promised 8%. and it's 7.8 now. >> the reason it's below 7.8% is because more people dropped out or it's because people had to take part-time work to put food on their tables. >> we're hearing different words about that. >> reporter: mitt romney must prove that debate performance from him was real. the romney viewers saw next to president obama is not the candidate they've come to know through many months of attack ads and replayed gaffes. do you think that that is true? >> i think that president -- excuse me, that governor romney needs to, yes, keep focused, keep doing what he's doing and speak directly to the american people. for me, i wondered, where was the headline that said, barack obama was unable to defend his past four years of economic policies. so that's what i think is the real matter there. >> the new labor report that we were just talking about a minute ago shows the unemployment rate, as we said, under 8%. i just want to -- i forgot about a piece of sound that we have to listen to.
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for the last four months, mitt romney has used this 8% number as a political talking point. my apologies for forgetting about this, but i want us to take a listen to that. >> we've gone 41 months with unemployment above 8%. >> we now have 42 straight months with unemployment above 8%. >> still over 8%, for 43 straight months. >> we've had 43 straight months with unemployment above 8%. >> now you're saying that those -- some people are saying those numbers are cooked. let's not get into that. but here you hear him saying it over and over and over again. do you just simply believe that number is not true? >> no, look, i'm going to trust what the bureau of labor and statistics says. i worked in the commerce department, we used to talk about this all the time. we're not going to get into that sideshow. but we can't -- look, the fact of the matter is, this is still an anemic recovery. this is the weakest recovery since the great depression. and people will have to decide, do they want more of what
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they've seen for the past four years, or do they want pa romney and ryan ticket who will bring in pro-growth policies that will bring in jobs for our country? >> thank you so much for being with us. >> my pleasure. the picture at the gas pump keeps gets worse for drivers in california. but first, after mitt romney's attack on big bird this week, the mega-sized muppet has been popping up in some surprising places this weekend. we'll show you, next. you're watching msnbc. with the spark cash card from capital one, sven's home security gets the most rewards of any small business credit card! how does this thing work? oh, i like it! [ garth ] sven's small business earns 2% cash back on every purchase, every day! woo-hoo!!! so that's ten security gators, right? put them on my spark card! why settle for less? testing hot tar... great businesses deserve the most rewards! [ male announcer ] the spark business card from capital one. choose unlimited rewards with 2% cash back or double miles on every purchase, every day! what's in your wallet? here's your invoice.
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[ male announcer ] how do you make 70,000 trades a second... ♪ reach one customer at a time? ♪ or help doctors turn billions of bytes of shared information... ♪ into a fifth anniversary of remission? ♪ whatever your business challenge, dell has the technology and services to help you solve it. time now for your campaign trail mix. and mitt romney's dis of big bird isn't going away. "sesame street's" yellow-feathered friends made an appearance at a rally. a twaeted picture shows the bird holding a sign says "crack down on wall street, not sesame street." all this after romney said in his first debate, he would de-fund pbs.
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what heart attack should play president obama in a movie about his life. the first lady has two actors on her short list, ali star, will smith, and denzel washington. you knew he'd be ton there. the very talented smith says he definitely has the ears for it. jetblue is offering a flight plan to folks who might not be happy about the outcome of the election. the airline says they will fly anyone upset over their candidate's loss out of the country, temporarily, though. it's all part of a contest on jetblue's website that lets voters pick a candidate and if they lose, they will be entered to win one of a thousand trips to a tropical destination. call it a chipotle off the old photo block. mitt romney posing for one unforgettable picture after stopping for a bite to eat at the popular food chain on tuesday. check out the guy on the right. that is one bug-eyed fans. and rapper nas is taking part,
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saying casting a ballot is the ultimate form of empowerment. >> can go to the polls in droves -- i didn't mean for that to kind of rhyme -- we can go there in droves and vote to get the person that we want. now that i've voted, i feel so much power, that i didn't feel before. like i feel like i've got power. like what i say mattered. >> the rapper says those interested in helping change things can logon to register at ourtime.org. still to come, a flashback at the year "independence day" stormed the box office and a sports-themed demographic helped bill clinton win his second term. and with one month left, what can mitt romney do to win over latino voters? and coming up next, both presidential campaigns seem to be undergoing an overhaul. we'll tell you about the changes and whether they seem to be a good or not. you're watching msnbc, the place for politics.
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developing news now. five terror suspects from britain have been transferred to the united states. the best known of the group is radical pretty mucher abu has ma al masri. he kidnapped two american tourists in yemen back in 1998. two of the five suspects pleaded not guilty to charges this morning. and here's a quick look at some of the other stories making news right now. officials in afghanistan say two americans were killed in the eastern part of the country today. while their names have not been released, the military says they died in an insurgent attack. drivers in california are waking up to record-high gas prices. aaa says the average for a gallon of regular unleaded is up to $4.61 a gallon. that is the highest in the nation. and honda has issued a new recall for its crvs model year 2002 to 2006. apparently the driver side power
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window switch can fail and sometimes melt, causing a fire. honda says it will repair those switches free of charge. >> we will win ohio. we will win this election. >> when i'm president of the united states, when i'm president of the united states -- >> both president obama and mitt romney seem confident, but is that because their campaigns have a dramatic strategy shift up their sleeves? the president's team has backed away from criticizing romney as too conservative and returned to labeling him as a flip-flopper. and governor romney appears to be moving towards the center, shifting strategy in october, is that even legal? joining me in our war room is karen finney, msnbc political analyst and former dnc communications director, and chris wilson, republican pollster and strategist. thank you both for joining us. >> hey, melissa. >> karen, a day after the debate, president obama went back over some familiar ground. let's listen. >> when i got on to the stage, i
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met this very spirited fellow who claimed to be mitt romney. but it couldn't have been mitt romney, because the real mitt romney has been running around the country for the last year, promising $5 trillion in tax cuts that favor the wealthy. the fellow on stage last night said he didn't know anything about that. >> you know, karen, this is the day after the debate when he was criticized for not slugging back at mitt romney. are we going to hear more attacks on these about mitt romney's evolving positions? >> probably, we will. here's the problem that romney has from the beginning. his honest and trustworthiness, which is characteristic in polling, where president obama has consistently done very well. people trust him. also shares my values. with romney, people aren't quite sure. so he's also got fundamental
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problems, even within his own base. this idea that he's trying to now shift positions in the last few weeks to appease and to appeal to independents comes at too risk to not being able to garner the support he needs on the far right. so, sure. the other point is, either he's lying or we just don't know what he's going to do, because the president is exactly right. romney has been out there talking about one set of things. now he's saying a whole new set of things. so it's sort of a question like, which is it? >> does it in any way show weakness on the obama campaign's part to change tactics now, or is that just part of october? >> i think that's part of october. and it's also, i mean, given that governor romney is shifting tactics, a campaign has to be nimble. both sides have to be nimble enough to, if your opponent shifts tactics, you've got to be able to shift tactics. that being said, i don't think you're going to not see the ongoing conversation about how extreme many of the positions that governor romney was
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perfectly comfortable to take in the primary and for a lot of the general election has been taking. i think y'all hear both. >> chris, governor romney appears to be moving towards the center. there were comments from the republican primary campaign and also from wednesday's debate. let's listen to one example. >> i fought against long odds in a deep blue state, but i was a severely conservative republican governor. >> i had the great experience, it didn't seem like it at the time, of being elected in a state where my legislature was 87% democrat. that meant i figured out from day one i had to get along and i had to work across the aisle to get anything done. >> it really does look like two different men when you look at it compared just like that. is it too late for governor romney to pivot from the center, where he's been the last few months? >> i don't see it as a pivot. i hear those two comments, and i would say one was made to a primary election audience, and one was made to a general election audience. and karen knows this far better
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than i do. when you're in the democratic primary, if you listen to the barack obama that ran against hillary clinton, it sounds very different than the barack obama that ran against john mccain. they've got to run against -- because if they compare those positions that romney has now, the way he performed in the debate the other night and compare that to barack obama's record, then we're going to be inaugurating president romney in november or january. >> but did you just say that mitt romney very specifically said one thing during his primary and something very different after the nomination? is that what you just said? >> what i said was, i think they're the same comments made to different audiences. that's an important distinctions. look, i'll be honest with you. i did not vote for mitt romney in the primary. mitt romney is not as conservative as i believe i would like our next president to believe. having said that, the mitt romney you saw on the stage performed so well because that is who mitt romney is. he's a center right kind of
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candidate, a very smart technocrat, and if you look at the positions he's taking, you can't confuse the comments about massachusetts legislature and say these are radically different. it's an evolution of a comment, the same way the comments about the tax rates were. i think it's an important distinction. >> karen, go ahead. you can call it the evolution of a comment and orr people call that flip-flopping. >> it's not only flip-flopping, it's also flat-out lying. he has been campaigning, as the president very well pointed out, for a number of months now. when he talks about the desire to bring the tax rates down to 20% and then he's going to close loopholes and do all these other things and get rid of big bird, which is like the least of -- you know, that's not going to get it either. every single independent group that has looked even conservatively, any groups that have looked at this show the math just doesn't add up. i think what the president has campaigned on and what he has talked about is, again, a more balanced approach that acknowledges, i mean, this sort of spending, as well as revenues, but the need to kind of keep some balance. i mean, consider the fact that mitt romney was fact checked by
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his own website pip mean, he stood on that stage and completely fabricated a whole new policy when it comes to people with pre-existing conditions. that is not his policy. under his policy, you are only covered if you already have insurance. here's the problem. the math doesn't add up, there, again, because for people who don't have health insurance, who have a pre-existing condition, that's the real problem. so saying people who have preconsisting conditions who already have coverage are going to keep getting coverage, that may sound like a good idea, but that doesn't actually solve the problem. >> let's move over to change is coming to the president's campaign, some changes in strategy are in store for the next department. david axelrod told reporters that the campaign will, "have to make some judgments about where to draw the lines in these debates and how to use our time." what does that, mean, exactly. the president really took it on the chin over his last debate performance. will we see a very different
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performance next time, karen? >> we will, only in that i think we'll see a different kind of performance from both men. because, remember, the next debate is the town hall format. i think part of what is so critical in that format is, remember, it won't just be a moderator asking question, it will be an american, an individual. and i think for people who are tuning in, watching that debate, you see somebody who looks like you, sounds like you, asking a question. you don't want to just hear the answer, up to see if the candidate treats that person with respect and gives them the respect of really answering their question. i think that will be a little bit different. >> chris, we're almost out of time, but i want to ask you this one thing. were you surprised there was no mention of the 47% comment during the debate? >> there was, but i think there was some concern on obama's part that romney was already prepared to deal with those issues. it was one plane, one house. those things are -- he was concerned about it. and if you take, again, obama's performance, against hillary clinton, when he attacked hillary clinton, he came off as arrogant and sort of -- it didn't come off well.
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i think that's what's he's got to try and draw a line there. and when you go into this town hall debate, at the risk of being prematurely sitting expectations, that is obama's format. he's got to be favored going into that, that's the kind of format he does best in. but can he draw distinctions and go after mitt romney and attack him on his positions and call him the flip-flopper without coming off as the arrogant obama we saw him in the primaries. >> my thanks to karen finney and chris wilson. thank you so much. >> thanks. just a month away from the elections. two new polls show president obama with an enormous lead over mitt romney among latinos in two key swing states. the number of from latino voters show mr. obama leading romney 78 to 17% in nevada. and in florida, obama leads romney 61 to 31%. romney has had a problem connecting with hispanics for months, and in just the past few days, began a new push to try to
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win them over. joining me now is steven nuno. thank you for being here. >> thanks for having me. >> these numbers look horrible for mitt romney. you know, comments that his dad was mexican, he'd be doing better. is there hope for him in the latino voting community? >> no. but the reason he needs to switch his position on immigration is he needs to convince more moderate voters. you know, romney 2.0 is about connecting with moderate voters, and that's the majority of americans who believe there should be a pathway to citizenship and a humane approach to immigration. >> he says he wouldn't row evacuate president obama's plan that's been granting temporary visas for young, undocumented workers. is that progress enough? >> not really. there's two words that latinos should pay attention to when they're talking to mitt romney. that is kris kobach. and kris kobach is the attorney
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general of kansas and the author of bills like sb-1070. so long as the campaign is committed to policies like sb-1070, latinos should be aware of mitt romney's stances. >> so in a poll of latinos polled recently about what is their biggest concern, i was kind of surprised to see that immigration isn't always number one. it's really jobs and the economy. can he win over voters there? he has just started two new ads in spanish. will that sort of argument help win some people over? >> no, because the republican party refuses the to acknowledge that immigration is an economic issue for latino. when you have the majority of latinos are within one generation of the immigration experience, how people acclimate within the new environment, within the new economy is an immigration issue. so even though most latinos may prioritize jobs above immigration without having an immigration process that allows
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parents or uncles to immigration and work in the economy, it's going to be difficult for latino families to integrate into society. >> it is widely believed that mitt romney cannot win the white house without winning florida. he has florida senator marco rubio out stumping. he is always considered a rising star. his name is always right in there. who do florida hispanics think of marco rubio? >> well, florida hispanics are really diverse. they're kind of like the country, where there's about a third of the hispanics in florida are cuban. but you also have another two-thirds that are either puerto rican or mexican or central or south american? so it's a very diverse hispanic population in florida. and the majority, the vast majority of cubans will vote for marco rubio. but when you talk about noncubans, most of them are pretty suspect, of the republican party there. >> we have some quick numbers here. the nation's latino population increased by 43% between 2000 and 2010. president obama won 66% of the latino vote in '08.
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is it a given that he will have that huge a turnout again? >> it's just by sheer numbers alone, there's probably going to be an increase in the number of people who come out and vote. but the republican party with latino growth in the population is not so much the population growth, but the distribution of the population. in 2008, president obama won indiana by less than 1% and hispanics were about 4% of the electorate there. so the tighter that the races get, the more important latino voters get. and you have places like virginia, north carolina, florida, nevada, where they may be a smaller percentage of the voters. but in a close election, they'll be really important. >> stephen nouno, thank you so much. still to come, can the president pull out a win in florida? we'll break down the sunshine state, ahead. but first, we take you back to the olden days when soccer moms were new to the scene. our flashback is next.
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for today's flashback, we turn our attention to 1996, when the presidential race was a choice between bill clinton and bob dole. 16 years ago, the incumbent president and his republican challenger met for their first debate. the showdown was in hartford, connecticut, and moderated by jim lehrer of pbs. it was also the year of a new block of voters, that was identified as jonathan alter explained to tom brokaw in the post-debate analysis. >> the swing voter this year goes by a new buzz word. they're called soccer moms. these are white women, living in the suburbs, some of them watch their kids play soccer. four years ago, george bush led bill clinton by ten percentage points, 15 in some polls, with this constituency. this year clinton is crushing
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dole in all the surveys of this group. it's a tremendous number of voters, white women living in the suburbs. they respond to a certain set of issues, gun control, education, medicare, because many of them are taking care of their elderly parents and they're very concerned about these so-called social issues. dole did not do enough to address these issues directly. clinton, by contrast, mentioned not once, but twice the issue of women being able to stay in the hospital longer when they have a baby, which is a big issue with the so-called soccer moms. so dole didn't do what he had to do with them tonight. coming up, we'll go to the ballot in new hampshire. the latest numbers on who is winning and who is losing, coming up. but first, mitt romney is in central florida today. we'll look where he needs to win in the sunshine state. this is msnbc, the place for politics. with swiffer dusters,
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in our look at battleground states today, we take you to florida. mitt romney has been campaigning there since friday. president obama and mr. romney are statistically tied there. according to our latest poll, mr. obama leads governor romney 47% to 46. the president has dropped two points since september. governor romney has gained one. and with its ten media markets and diverse population, florida's a complicated and pricey state. joining us with more is mark ka pewto, political writer for "the miami herald," and back with us is anne kornblut from "the washington post." thanks to both of you. >> thank. >> mark, your newspaper also reported the race between president obama and mitt romney is at a virtual tie. here is how florida voted back in 2008. democrats won in the central and southern urban centers. republicans in the rural north and central. will the 2012 map look the same? >> oh, pretty much so. that's what the polling is showing currently. you know, southeast florida is rather liberal.
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florida's kind of an upsidedown state. the farther north you go, the deeper in the south you are. so the republican candidate does well in the north of florida and the democratic candidate generally does well in the south. and it's the middle, what we know as the i-4 corridor, where things are really fought out. >> i used to live there. i know it well. well, anne, september's job report came out on friday, and nationally, unemployment was down to 7.8% in september. state numbers come out in a couple of weeks. but in august, unemployment in florida was above the national rate by a whole point at 8.8%. can president obama get past florida's high unemployment numbers to win there? >> and it's not just unemployment. i think housing is another key to point out. i'm sure mark knows this well. the foreclosure rates have been high in florida and the foreclosure crisis has been especially felt there, as in a number of other states. so he's facing -- the president is facing some serious economic headwinds in there as he has in a couple of other of the swing states. that said, the national mood does matter.
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he's done fairly well in even some other hard-hit states like ohio, in persuading that they should feel better about the economy, that it's at least heading in the right direction, even if it's not all the way there. so i expect he will continue to try to make that case. >> mark, in 2008, barack obama won the state. in 2004, george w. bush beat senator john kerry with 52% of the vote, and we all remember what happened in 2000 between vice president gore and george w. bush. how difficult is it to handicap the race in florida? >> well, i'd say it's pretty close to impossible. your poll -- your poll this week basically showed what ours showed about a week and a half ago, that it was a one-point race. and as anne mentioned, there are these economic head winds. florida is at 8.8%. people feel that. this isn't a state where we've had a thriving auto sector. we have really no manufacturing here. so you can't talk about the auto bailout. you know, we have a home building industry, and that's
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essentially been in the tank. the state's home foreclosure race is among the highest in the nation. probably the third highest, if i'm not mistaken. so you have this as the backdrop. and there's a really broad sense among people that the country's headed in the wrong direction, that the state's headed in the wrong direction, and it's difficult for obama to sell that sense of optimism he had before. because now he has a record, and yes, though the jobs have been increasing and the unemployment rate has been going down as of late, there's still this sense among people that people think things aren't getting better fast enough for them. so they're not as optimistic as perhaps he is. >> you live in miami. wla what about the hispanic vote? they make up almost 22% of the state's population. it is a unique population, given the large cuban community there, which is much denser than the rest of the country and tends to vote republican. who has a better handle on this voting bloc, if that can even be classified as a single bloc? >> well, you really can't.
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but nevertheless, hispanic voters generally share the same second language, and in some cases, certainly in miami, certainly the same first language, spanish. but registered voters showed bop with a whopping lead of 30 points. he needs to keep that lead high. in 2008, obama won 57-42 over mccain with the hispanic vote here. one of the reasons that it was higher in the rest of the nation is that we have about a third of our hispanic voters are cuban america. they tend to overwhelmingly vote republican. what you're seeing since 2008 and since 2006 and before is there's a burgeoning puerto rican community in central florida that's largely democratic that's balancing out the cuban republican vote. so that's really where obama's mining for more hispanic votes there. albeit, he'd love to have more cuban american votes as well. >> and fairly quickly, both presidential candidates have made at least 20 campaign stops
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in the campaign so far. and in issues affecting seniors, both medicare and medicaid, have been the focus, obviously. elderly are incredibly reliable voters. in a short period of time, what do both candidates have to tell florida seniors? >> they're going to try to convince that voting population that the ore one would be worse for medicare, in short. you've heard a lot come out of their mouths about what the other one would do, what their plans are. mitt romney has said he had his own plan, and tried to talk about the money obama has moved. so medicare, medicare, medicare. >> thanks to you both, anne kornblut and mark caputo. the number twos getting on their ticket, getting ready for their matchup. what they're doing ahead of the vice presidential debate. and a lot has been said about the president's performance at this week's debate. we'll talk about the obama campaign national vice chair, janua
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